Living a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life is a game of inches and incrementally built-up positive habits—not Herculean sprints at the last minute, when things are finally looking grim. A huge part of the battle is developing the patience and discipline to turn these behaviors into deeply-rooted habits. However, it’s hard to do this if you don’t even have a firm grip on what habits are worthwhile.
Luckily for us, the internet is full of folks who are happy to lend a hand to strangers. Redditor u/RileyLovesOliver turned to the r/LifeProTips online community with a request, asking them to share the small positive habits that they’ve embraced that have significantly improved their daily lives. We’ve collected the crème de la crème of their advice to educate and entertain you, Pandas. Scroll down and we hope you’re taking notes—we know we are!
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I get up earlier so I can have 30 minutes to drink my coffee, play Wordle, and hang out with my cat before work. Not rushing in the morning reduces my anxiety overall.
Image credits: SoPixelated
Talking to myself as I would talk to a friend when I’m upset, I stop and say, its okay, thats really sad, you are allowed to be sad, I’m here to support you and listen, just listen to your body, stuff like that
Image credits: AutisticFae
ALWAYS put my keys and wallet in the same place EVERY time I come home.
Image credits: High_Jumper81
How quickly you build a habit depends on a wide range of personal and outside factors, including the person’s character and willingness to put in sustained effort, as well as the environment where they’re learning. Another important aspect to consider is just how complicated the new habit is. Drinking an extra glass of water every day or starting to floss your teeth, for instance, is incredibly easy. Getting to grips with an active and dynamic lifestyle if you’re an exercise-hating couch potato, however, is very difficult.
Verywell Mind points out that, according to some studies it takes an average of 66 days (just over two months) to form a habit. However, there’s no hard consensus, and some research shows that the process can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. Eventually, you’ll succeed. The challenge lies in staying committed to the new habit for a long period of time and motivating yourself even when you don’t see immediate results.
Don’t put it down, put it away. My house never gets cluttered these days!
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I have had four knee surgeries. I was an athlete all my life. Six weeks ago I began walking the .89 mile each way (so says Google Fit) commute to work. I have lost 8lbs and my knees ache less. It isn’t much but it is a start and I will continue.
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I have ADHD and one thing that’s helped A TON is committing to a task for 1 minute and if I don’t want to be there after a minute, I walk away. Many times I end up doing the whole task. Executive dysfunction usually prevents the start of tasks but I’m typically fine after I’ve started. So a tiny commitment like 1 minute sometimes gets me over that hurddle.
Image credits: Procyon4
Meanwhile, PsychCentral notes that forming a habit takes anywhere between 59 to 70 days, but a lot depends on each individual. If someone’s being monitored or they have massive incentives to develop the new habit, then they might make the new behavior automatic more quickly. In the meantime, someone who hates every single minute of the process and doesn’t see the point of the new behavior will struggle far more.
What truly helps is starting small. Really small. Tiny, in fact! Many of us have grand ambitions about how we’ll completely overhaul our lives next Monday/week/month/year in the course of a few short days. However, when we come face to face with reality and recognize how tough things actually are, those daydreams quickly disappear. By making seemingly insignificant changes to our daily lives, we can alter our behavior and quality of life without much suffering. Or, as the CDC puts it, some physical activity is better than none.
Make lists and take notes on your phone. Don’t rely on memory alone.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
As a bonus I find that when I make a list, it’s easier to remember as I have a mental image of that list.
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Doing the dishes of pan and cooking stuff right after i cooked, and before eating. Gain of time, and things are easier to wash before it dries.
Bonus : You enjoy more eating when tasks are done.
Edit : As say in the comment, alternate tip is to wash as you cook
Image credits: s_frrx
Drinking lots of water and eating a banana every day has done wonders for my general mood.
Image credits: Trashtag420
Something else to consider is to break down your (overly) ambitious goals into lots of bite-sized steps. So if your aim is to lose a few kilograms or to get a six-pack, you don’t commit to three hours of intense exercise every single day. No, you start with the basics, like taking a short walk, doing some simple exercises, and starting off lifting light weights.
Then, when you complete each step, you feel like it’s a small victory. Feel free to reward yourself for that in some small way to recognize your progress.
I stopped saying “sorry” at work. Even if I mess up. Don’t want to give off incompetent vibes or any sign of weakness. Instead, I’ve replaced it with a compliment “Great catch” or a “dang, missed that one” or any number of things, just not “sorry”. I swear my perception of skill went from middle of the pack to one of the stronger Devs and I feel it’s resulted in a promotion much earlier than was originally discussed.
Becoming alcohol free.
Regularly reminding myself to drop my shoulders, raise my head to face forwards, and then smile. Huge change for self, huge change in how others receive me (especially strangers)
Image credits: wuzeezi
For some people, what also helps is accountability. That’s why it’s so helpful to go to the gym with a friend. You can motivate each other when (not ‘if’ but ‘when’) either of you starts losing motivation. What’s more, if you have set times when you meet up, it helps establish a routine for the entire week. And that can form the foundation of your new healthy lifestyle.
What habits have proved to have a huge effect on the quality of your own lives, dear Pandas? Feel free to share them in the comments. And if you’d like to get to grips with some more useful small habits, check out Bored Panda’s previous feature right here.
I’m a cook, so maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone. But I take an extra fresh pair of socks with me and change into them on my lunch break.
Keeps the feet dry, and gives me a weird little boost of energy.
Always keep a spare in the locker too, because you never know.
Image credits: 3nc3ladu5
My washing machine doesn’t have a buzzer, and I found myself forgetting that there was a finished but wet load of clothes in there. When I’d remember, they’d smell musty and I’d have to rewash.
I now made a small policy change – when I start the washing machine, I put the small hamper right in the bedroom doorway, so I have to step over it. I put it back when the wash has been transferred to the dryer. It is admittedly a very small thing, but I’ve stopped having to rewash.
Image credits: paleotow
Making my bed every morning.
Image credits: What_the_mocha
I started actively pre-planning my days. I spend 3-5 minutes before going to bed vividly imagining the things I’m going to the next day, and it’s been working wonders for dispelling any internal resistance to doing stuff that’s boring or hard, but required.
Image credits: curmudgeonpl
Daily pushups and sit ups. Not a lot, I started off doing 5 push ups and 10 sit ups a day. That was three years ago and now I do 35 push ups and 45 sit ups a day. It’s been great for my body and mental health to accomplish a little something every day.
Image credits: BryantOlivas
I’ve started audibly saying “thank you” to small conviences liking hitting a green light, finding a nice parking space or if something I like at the grocery store is on sale. It oddly works wonders at improving my mood acknowledging even the smallest victories
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I wake up and journal 10 things I’m thankful for, and then meditate for 15 minutes.
It took a long time for me to get to that point (I’m not a morning person) but it’s really helped my mindset. I realized recently I don’t really have negative self talk anymore.
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Probably won’t get read by anyone, but as someone with inconsistent bowel movements, introducing extra water and a fiber supplement has increased the consistency and ease of my bathroom time
I stopped drinking 26oz of liquor a day. I know it seems like a tiny change but it’s really helped my memory and energy levels. And my family is talking to me again!
one (1) pushup each day
I’ve become the annoying person who gives an overly cheerful hello to everyone in the hallway at work.
People now expect it. Many say hello to me first.
It’s starting to spread as people are greeting the people behind me, too.
I’ve created a virus of positivity and acknowledgment.
I make sure to always have a glass of water next to me. Both on my nightstand and at my desk. It greatly improved how much water I drink and has helped break some unhealthy snacking habits
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Started cycling to work.
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Stretch after waking up
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Put everything ready you need the following morning, before you go to bed
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I started out doing a 5min bodyweight workout every morning. Gets me energy for the day, had a great impact on my general mood and weight, as I started doing more than just 5min as it got easier doing the workouts.
Going outside and looking at the sunrise and sunset respectively every day
Image credits: devinlucifer222
I try to romanticize my mornings since I am not a morning person. Light a candle for myself while getting ready for work, slather myself in lotion, try to take time with myself. Then promise myself something delicious and cozy to drink for my ride.
When I get to work, I pull out my little notebook and write out 5-10 things I love about the day or my life. It’s really helped my stress levels and negative/overthinking
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I *get* to instead of I *have* to.
Image credits: CaffeinatedFrosting
Going outside to water my plants first thing in the morning.
A little walking, a little fresh air, and a little sunshine go very far. (This only works during the summer for my schedule.)
Image credits: regallll
I’ve set one day a week to have dinner and invite someone over. I’m an introvert and it gives me something to look forward to and helps me keep in touch with family and friends. It’s become a big hit and It forces me to clean.
Get out of bed at the same time each day, even in the weekends.
Image credits: Good-Is-Good-Enough
Reading when I wake up and reading before bed
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Putting lotion (that has a bit of sunscreen) on my face after showers. Im an asian dude that had acne til I was 28 and this got rid of it for me
Journaling. There are times no one will listen, no matter how little or how much sense you are making, but you will. Being as honest as you can be on a given subject is obviously insightful, journaling is a tool that enables that.
Admittedly I don’t do it enough, yet it keeps me sane when I am driven to practice.
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Floss your teeth daily. I used to floss once a week or so. Now, skipping a day I can really tell with breath and how my mouth feels.
I am OCD now so n flossing every night no matter tired or drunk. Takes 2 min and makes a world of difference.
Not fighting sleep when Im tired at night, even if it’s “early”.
Getting out of bed <5 minutes after waking up. Otherwise, I could be there for ages on an off day… Also, getting outdoors soon after getting up and dressed.
Change into my workout clothes AT WORK right before I left to head for the gym.
This removed so many barriers for me.
I stopped going home to change and then being so tired that I’d “sit down for a minute” (nope, I’m in for the night).
So hungry I’d “just grab something” (nope, I’d eat a full meal and you can’t exercise after eating and now it’s too late and …)
If I had my gym clothes on, I might as well go to the gym. I only have to do ONE thing. Just one. I’m super tired or super hungry – no problem, just do that one thing and then I can go.
And for me, that one thing always kicked in my gym routine and boom, I did the full thing, focused on my workout so the hunger disappeared until I was done and then it came roaring back but I digress.
If I really was physically too tired, then I either reduced weights and did less reps or kept the weight and reduced reps, but most of the time, no matter how tired I felt – I wasn’t physically exhausted, so I did the full routine and then that helped with the stress and “detox” from work and now I’m not as “tired”. And the few times that I’d start to work out and do that one thing and be just wiped? Then I knew I was likely getting sick. I would stop at one because that was the deal with myself … I’d go home and deal with the being sick.
Changing before I left work – made all the difference for me about keeping to my health routine.
Keep a full change of cloth at work for emergency use. Split your pants? You’re covered. Step in a puddle after parking? You’re saved. Trust a fart? It’s now an embarrassing, mild inconvenience.
Whenever I wash my hands, instead of the happy birthday song, I sing “I am grateful for you, I am grateful for you. I am grateful for (insert person I’m grateful for). I am grateful for you.”
Hands are clean and you sneak in some gratitude on the sly.
Daily walks of 1-3 miles. Healthier. Calmer. Closer to my spouse as we walk together every day. If one of us is out of town, we talk on the phone while we walk. Life changer. Haven’t missed a day in more than three years.
When I get home from work, unless I’m extremely tired I always take 10-20 minutes to straighten up, put dishes or clothes away, sweep if needed, feed pets etc. so I can just relax the rest of the night in a nice tidy place. Also stop at the store after work if needed instead of going home, sitting down and then rushing to do stuff right before bed.
I start drinking gin and tonics in the backyard at 3
Giving myself the grace to half a*s something.
If a task is worth doing it’s worth half assing.
At work: keep a running list, organized by day, of what I need to do, how, and what I actually get done
I subdivide problems into smaller problems, with bullet-lists, get down finicky details, and when I get back to work the next day, or after lunch, I know exactly what I was doing and why
I can search for things 15 years back, and find out when and how I did it; who i mailed, what I wrote in the mail
This means I don’t need to clutter my little head with all these innumerable details, and it’s good for getting peace of mind
2,5l of pure water
I keep my opinions to myself and get to bed before midnight.
Keeping track of how much water I drink.
I would constantly get exhausted through the day, usually have headaches, have really really dry eyes, and feel sore/stiff in my whole body. After keeping track of how much water I drank and keeping up with how much water I needed, all these issues pretty much went away.
This one will change your life. I am not a morning person at all, ever since I did this. Always waking up at 6am and starting my day. Drink something very nutritious (supergreen etc) and just stand outside in the sun. You will soon realize how much time extra you have before work and your day feels 2 times longer (in a good way). You will also soon feel this energy that you never felt before if you keel it going and make it a habit.
Whenever I think I “have” to do something, i.e. I HAVE to go to work, I HAVE to run errands, I HAVE to get up, I substitute “get” for “have”. I GET to go to work, I GET to run errands, I GET to get up. Huge difference in mindset.
Go to the gym 3 days a week even if that day Im just depressed and can’t go out of bed, make a to do list for every day/week, add things, complete them day by day. Keeping my bedroom/workroom in order everyday… Having productive things to do everyday helps, even if sometimes you gotta force yourself into it.
Image credits: Richi16
Cut your veggies for the whole week. It makes cooking so much easier. Also easier access to healthy snacks like veg+hummus.
1. Not using my phone for the first and last 15 minutes of my day
2. Drinking at least 40 ounces of water before I reach for a cup of joe
Having cold showers now for a few months and feel much better in the mornings and awake.
Image credits: bedzer
On my day off I wake up, make some tea and sit in a sunny dining nook and read. It gets me into a more positive mindset, sets me to run errands and have a more productive day than if I just went to errands or turned on the tv.
Only drink water, fizzy water, and tea. Cutting out all beverages with sugar or calories. Except for the occasional alcoholic beverage with friends.
Good for skin, good for hydration, good for weight.
Also take a sip of water every time you wake up at night. You’ll wake up feeling better and more hydrated.
Bc this is always the follow up question: if you don’t like plain water? You’ll get used to it so just power through, or add in a squeeze of your favorite citrus and/or herbs (mint or lavender mostly). A little apple cider vinegar can also be nice!
As someone who works at a desk all day and has 3 young kids, so no time to work out. Under desk bike has been a life saver. A nice light peddling won’t work up a sweat but still gets me some exercise. Alternatively treadmill desk but that’s a lot more expensive and bigger.
If it takes less then two minutes don’t save it for later, DO IT NOW
Turning the shower cold for at least ten seconds at the end
I dont like Yoga, but stretching (which in my mind is still the same thing without the religious/spiritual sentiment) is amazing. I’m 28 and 6’2, I’ve had lower back pain for awhile and I started developing knee pain due to basketball. Started stretching using kneesovertoesguy and leanbeefpatty on YT and you wouldn’t believe how much this small practice has improved my overall quality of life. Start with 10mins when you have it spare and before you know it you’ll have a routine.
I cut off my long hair to just below my shoulders. I am free! I can jump in the shower and dry it with a hairdryer in minutes. I would honestly avoid doing things because it took so long to get ready. I usually had to plan the night before and often let my hair air dry for several hours. Not anymore! I can even exercise in the morning, shower, then go about my day. I feel like a normal person now.
Don’t hit snooze on the alarm clock and don’t fall back asleep if I’m 15 – 20 minutes early on the wake up.
– Clean something everyday, no matter how big or small. 1 empty can in the box is fine. Just do atleast one thing every day.
– Start writing things down. The amount of things that could improve your life but are forgotten is surprising.
– On the same note, use your phone calendar to track stuff. Things show up fast when you’re not focused on them and being blindsided with a birthday or a payment costs more than it needs to.
– Look the damn thing up. Check the definition, find the antonym, confirm the price, check the date, refresh yourself on the concept. The mind drifts easy from what we thought we knew, I make sure to refresh my understanding of things whenever I can.
– Mediate once a day. This is as simple as sitting for 15m without trying to be doing something productive.
– Spending at least a few minutes going back through the day, before going to sleep.
Made sex a priority! My poor husband wanted it nightly. After having kids I was always tired we probably averaged once a week. I made a metal shift to turn off work, stress, etc and we now have sex 5-6x a week. I feel much better physically and mentally. My husband is much happier too.
I’m 49. I roll out of bed onto the floor. I stretch my back and hips. Do 10+ pushups. Grab the kettle bell and do 10+ curls each arm.
It is pretty amazing how much better I feel throughout the day not just physically, but mentally as well.
I have a light, well-rounded breakfast (usually a high-protein parfait or avocado toast + juice) and try to sit in the sun for about 10-15 minutes daily. I also allow my instincts to guide what I do in my free time. Do I need a nap? Do I need alone time? Do I need stimulation and socialization? Whatever I’m feeling, I’ll find something that satisfies my needs. ?
opening the blinds in the morning. oh my god, the difference it makes in my life is LITERALLY NIGHT AND DAY
I cut out fast food and pizza while eating less carbs and sugar. I never get acid reflex anymore. I still drink a lot of beer and eat my favorite food (hot wings) with crazy spicy sauces Scorpion, Carolina Reaper etc. It used to kill me with the acid reflex but its non existent now. Also lost 10lbs in a month.
I cannot stress this enough, making your bed once you’re up, it is one of those “be kind to your later self” things and it is a small win for each day. Then you ride the wave and make momentum!
What I call a 30 seconds or [lazy journaling](https://youtu.be/o07-KPtKPhk).
KISS principle on steroids 🙂
Probably the biggest impact on my life for the time spent.
Take a walk every day, drink more water
I always, always, start my day with a McDonalds coffee and sitting in my car for like an hour before driving to work.
Probably sounds stupid, but with the app my coffee is only $1.84 after tax, so it’s a great deal and something I can continue to afford even during those tight money times.
No matter the situation, I get to start my day with a positive, something that I enjoy. Because I look forward to that, it also makes getting up easier.
The hour I spend in my car drinking my coffee is spent at the nature reserve on my way to work. I get to watch the wildlife and usually will watch YouTube, set my calendar for the week, go over my itinerary for the day, etc. I basically organize myself for the day. With extra time, I’ll go for a hike on the paths to get in some exercise or I’ll read a book on the benches there.
That hour and that coffee are my favorite time of the day. Some days, I can’t wait to go to bed so I can wake up and have my “me” time. Lol.
Go to bed 10hrs before you need to be up. Takes 30-45min to fall asleep, and 30-45min to wake up. You get a solid 8hrs sleep and you’ve recovered from whatever you had to do the day before. EZ-PZ
Yoga, mobility drills, nerve gliding/flossing exercises
YNAB for personal finance budgeting is a big one
SuperMemo for memory and a good password managers are also so insanely helpful for remembering and saving important information safely
GTD apps like nirvanaHQ for saving information and task lists are pretty useful too. I use Google keep for grocery lists.
As someone who struggles with identifying, feeling, and controlling emotions. Journaling and meditation.
I hate journaling but got a wellness journal from Amazon. It gives me things to write about in the morning and at night. In the morning to how I’d like to start my day and my intentions and at night a reflection of the day. I honestly wasn’t a fan of the idea but I gave it a go and I’m surprised and how much it’s helped me regulate my feelings. It’s made me more aware of how I’m feeling or what makes me upset.
Meditation has helped me clear my mind and I feel more.. charged and clear headed now. I just follow short and quick guided meditations on YouTube.
Try taking cold showers, cold of course being relative to where you’re at in the world. That cold bite of water before I start the day really prepares my mind and body for what the day has in store.
To add onto cold showers, lift some heavy weights or go for a morning jog before work or whatever you got going on.
When I go to bed, I plug my phone in across the room and then lay down in bed. Sometimes I read, but I just hard cut the late night scrolling and just go to bed. An extra 20 minutes of sleep makes a big difference every night
Gratitude. First words out of my mouth every morning. It doesn’t do anything tangible, but it creates a mindset for the day. It doesn’t matter if you are thanking a higher power or just the universe at large.
Running a 5K 3 days per week was a major game
Going to the gym everyday.
Looking at myself in the mirror and being self-critical to identify and fix the problems I see.